Gym or no gym

A place to discuss health and fitness, healthy diets. A fit body makes for a fit mind.
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VinceField
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by VinceField » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:38 pm

You can actually transform what was once a tedious or ego-inflating workout routine into an insight-promoting meditative exercise session. I have done this by focusing on the sensations within the body as I lift weights, especially the most prominent sensations in the targeted muscle groups, and being mindful of the nature of my mind's activity in reaction to these sensations. I have found that changing my thoughts and attitude towards these sensations, particularly the pain of the burn at the end of a set, has actually helped increase my pain tolerance and endurance. Some particular ideas I meditate on while lifting are the impermanence of the sensations, the fact that they are not me, and the idea that pain is not a bad thing to be avoided, especially in this case where it is a sign that the necessary work is being done to promote results.

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Nicolas
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Nicolas » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:08 pm

Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu: Ask A Monk: Physical Exercise

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VinceField
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by VinceField » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:44 pm

Nicolas wrote:Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu: Ask A Monk: Physical Exercise
It seems to me like this guy almost completely writes off physical exercise of any kind. I would imagine that in another decade or so he may change his opinion as he witnesses his own physical condition begin to deteriorate. There is a pretty convincing body of evidence that indicates lack of physical exercise causes many health problems, and his solution of eating less and meditating probably won't help prevent muscle atrophy and the long list of diseases that result from lack of proper nutrition.

He seems to take an overly extreme position which appears to exclude using skillful means for cultivating more wholesome states of body and mind.

Reductor
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Reductor » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:53 am

VinceField wrote:
Nicolas wrote:Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu: Ask A Monk: Physical Exercise
It seems to me like this guy almost completely writes off physical exercise of any kind. I would imagine that in another decade or so he may change his opinion as he witnesses his own physical condition begin to deteriorate. There is a pretty convincing body of evidence that indicates lack of physical exercise causes many health problems, and his solution of eating less and meditating probably won't help prevent muscle atrophy and the long list of diseases that result from lack of proper nutrition.

He seems to take an overly extreme position which appears to exclude using skillful means for cultivating more wholesome states of body and mind.
I think it important to see what he means by exercise: activity to obtain a physical state beyond what is needed to do your work, whether that be meditating in the forest or being an office worker. Specifically, he states that most people eat to support the exercise done so that the body can be enhanced, or that people eat too much, then exercise to stave off the consequence of doing so. Both of which are unhelpful, for the first, which seemed to be his focus, stems from non-acceptance that the body is a perishable item, control over which is fleeting and frustrating. The second reason was that people should be less attached to food, then they wouldn't need to do the exercise they do to avoid that.

Basically, he is advocating that we be fit enough to do our work, and that those who would follow the path further down should limit the food they eat and the physical work they do to only what is needed- as taking more than that arises from greed for form or sensual pleasure.

All this seems unsurprising for a monk to say. Kinda orthodox.

And it should be noted that monks often get fat and sick and die, and often stay thin and live long. The old school monks that lived more austere lives were thin and strong enough to live long - think of ajhan mun: he lived to 79 years old, which is not a short life. And he was mobile to the end.

Now, personally, I like to exercise. I run. I ran today. I'll likely run tomorrow. I'm thinking of taking up weight lifting. And I see a need to clean up my diet. My life doesn't conduce to quiet meditation in a cave, but to poor mental habits of various kinds. For me, exercise is a correction to my habit of sloth and overeating. Do I want to live like a monk? Maybe. I am undecided. Can I at this time? No. Do I begrudge monks for thinking like monks and prioritizing dhamma practice over my lay concerns? I'd be silly to think so.

So, to OP: if you live a wish to avoid the ego shit that goes with gym membership, then ditch the car, walk to school/work/stores/wherever (if you're going a long way, take a bus or LRT or subway or whatever), and buy only staples when you go to the grocery store. Then you'll have monk like fitness without the vanity.

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Mkoll
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Mkoll » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:54 am

:goodpost:

I'll say again in case the OP is still listening that working out at home is a good way to avoid going to the gym and paying membership dues, traveling there, etc. If you have a bike, you can get a magnetic resistance wheel that basically turns it into a stationary bike. There are books like You Are Your Own Gym that have tons of exercises that require little or rudimentary equipment. There are lots of creative ways to exercise that don't require a gym membership.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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VinceField
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by VinceField » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:30 pm

I think that avoiding the situations that arouse egoistic thoughts and unwholesome attitudes and feelings, such as working out in a gym, is a subpar strategy for defeating or transcending the unskillful habits of the mind. It seems tantamount to running away from one's problems, or trying to conquer a fear by avoiding the thing that arouses the fear.

I believe it would be a far more rewarding and effective strategy to deal with these issues head on. Get into the gym and mindfully watch the arising of these unwholesome states of mind. Look for their causes and experience their effects. Contemplate the Buddha's teachings and apply them to the responses that cause an inflation of ego and sense of self.

I have done this myself and as a result, my mindfulness of my own mental activity and it's consequences has greatly increased and I have been able to let go of a great deal of the beliefs, ideas, and conditioning that had previously aroused unwholesome states of mind in relation to my sense of self while in the gym.

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Nicolas
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Nicolas » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:25 pm

I would need to find a sutta reference, but it seems to me that the Buddha teaches the opposite of what you say.
Gandhi slept with naked girls in his bed to prove that he was chaste and could resist the temptation / had no temptation. Why do it in the first place?
Covering the unwholesome with a slice of wholesomeness does not make the former wholesome. It is better to avoid it altogether.

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VinceField
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by VinceField » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:17 pm

Nicolas wrote:I would need to find a sutta reference, but it seems to me that the Buddha teaches the opposite of what you say.
Gandhi slept with naked girls in his bed to prove that he was chaste and could resist the temptation / had no temptation. Why do it in the first place?
Covering the unwholesome with a slice of wholesomeness does not make the former wholesome. It is better to avoid it altogether.
I'm not sure that comparison is completely valid. I don't believe there is anything innately unwholesome about going to a gym to exercise, while this cannot be said with sleeping with naked girls.

The point is not to do it to test one's will power to resist temptation, the point is to better understand one's own mental processes and the ways in which one creates the causes of suffering in one's own life, so that one may realize the error in their perceptions and fabrications and discover more wholesome approaches. I am pretty sure this is in line with the Buddha's teachings.

Chances are the defilements that arise while exercising in public will likely manifest in a smaller degree in any other ordinary public situation. Namely, egoism, false sense of self, comparing oneself with others, projecting labels onto oneself and others, one-upmanship, etc. Should one avoid all public situations, or should one do the work to liberate oneself from these defilements? Should one exercise like a hermit simply because they have an unruly mind, or should they face and overcome their issues with mindfulness and skillful effort?

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Nicolas
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Nicolas » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:44 pm

You have convinced me, I retract my previous statement :anjali:

Herbie
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Herbie » Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:04 am

daviddanska wrote:As I have progressed in my studies I have begun more and more to understand all the distractions and ego that is at the modern day gym. In reaction to this understanding I stopped going to the gym, but now I have started to gain weight and my diet is worsening as well. :thinking: Should I go back to the gym? If so is the gym not just a way to boost ones ego and become attached to the body? This is a big dilemma for me. :shrug:
I think that everything arises from the body, so the body should be taken care of at least to the same extent people usually take care of their dog.
Inspiration is based on the exchange of different linguistic expressions. But inspiration is best knowing how language relates to truth. :smile:

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puppha
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by puppha » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi daviddasanka,

I stopped going to the gym and exercise at home now. I do a mix of "fitnessblender" on youtube and this book: "you are your own gym".
That's pretty exhaustive, saves time and money, and I don't have to bear with annoying pop music at the gym.

All the best!

Metta.

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Mkoll
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Re: Gym or no gym

Post by Mkoll » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:29 pm

puppha wrote:Hi daviddasanka,

I stopped going to the gym and exercise at home now. I do a mix of "fitnessblender" on youtube and this book: "you are your own gym".
That's pretty exhaustive, saves time and money, and I don't have to bear with annoying pop music at the gym.

All the best!

Metta.
:clap:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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